Motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. every year have an economic toll of almost $1 trillion. This includes $277 billion in actual cost, and an estimated $594 billion in harm from the loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries.
America's roadways experience 5.5 million traffic accidents per year. The toll they take is immense: approximately 35,000 fatalities annually (almost 100 per day) and close to $1 trillion in economic losses. The $277 billion in direct costs alone are equivalent to approximately $897 for eachperson living in the United States, or 1.9 percent of U.S. GDP. With human error the "definite or probable" cause of more than 90 percent of traffic accidents, this should only hasten efforts to spur the introduction of a wider range of information technology-enabled driver assistance technologies. These include blind spot detection, lane departure warnings, dangerous proximity (pre-collision) indicators, rear view cameras, parking assistance, and, ultimately, the introduction of fully autonomous vehicles. Regulators and policymakers alike should recognize that these technologies will ultimately make America's roads significantly safer, and approach building a regulatory framework for their introduction mindful of the life-saving potential they hold.